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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2003
A Review by Daniel
The main characters you will read about are Ben and Al. Ben and Al have been rivalries in the sport of wrestling. Both of them were a natural 135 pounds in weight. Ben is now a senior and knows that this is the year he is going to go all of the way to the state championship. But what does Ben have to do to achieve this goal? Will he actually beat the number one contender in high school wrestling? Everyone in the small town of Sturbridge thinks that Ben has a slim chance with Al. The only person thinks he is going to win is himself.
This book is actually one of the best books I have ever read. It was full of action and it always kept me on my toes. For an example, the author made it seem like you were actually watching the intense action of the crowd when a Sturbridge wrestler pinned a guy. Another thing I liked about the book is that it was very easy to follow. It wasn't a confusing book at all. You can always tell when Ben is either talking to his friends or just to himself. If you are a wrestler, you can kind of relate to the book because being out there on the mats is very intense and also can be devastating when you lose. It also talks about how many points takedowns are and all of the other rules of wrestling. One thing I didn't like about the book was the ending. Maybe to some people they might like the ending, but I kind of wanted to know what happened after Ben was done with high school. It just left me hanging there at the end.
I would definitely recommend this book to young adults. This book is very energetic, exciting, and suspenseful. The only reason why I wouldn't want you to read this book is because it has some language that some parents might not be to fond of it. In the other hand, if you do get the chance to read it, I would highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 1998
I read Wrestling Sturbridge, but this sounds like the same book (maybe an earlier edition) I have 4 sons who wrestle and anyone who loves the sport of wrestling knows the joys and heartaches. Especially for those athletes who are not the Varsity, A-Team, or Champions - it certainly teaches about the desire to win and wanting to have a spot on the team!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2002
A good story about a boy who decides to challenge his own best friend in order to achieve some of his personal goals. I liked it, but my personal favorite book about high school wrestling, more realistic about the sport and with higher stakes for the hero, is "Takedown."
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on March 25, 2012
Sturbridge, Pennsylvania is one of those little blue-collar plant towns where people pour all their energy into living vicariously through a high school sport, sometimes football, sometimes basketball, here wrestling. The premise is simple: Ben is a senior and his three best friends--wrestling at 130, 135, and 140, respectively--stand squarely in the way of his wrestling dreams. His dreams after high school? There isn't much of that to go around in Sturbridge. Time not spent in class or wrestling is spent on those quintessential small town vices: cruising, drinking, and cruising a slightly different route.

The essence of small town America, the heart of the sport of wrestling, the growing pains of adolescence--Wallace pins each perfectly. I enjoyed and appreciated it as much rereading it over a decade later as I did first reading it as a high school wrestler. It's a book any high school wrestler (or former high school wrestler) should appreciate, but the themes are universal and Ben provides enough info to avoid confusion by non-wrestlers (we're informed a takedown is worth two points early on). It avoids the mistake I think too many YA novels (written by adults) make of assuming teenagers spend all their time thinking about adults.

Wrestling Sturbridge is written in first person entirely from Ben's perspective. It's an ideal POV for a YA novel because, by showing us what our protagonist thinks but not anyone else, we can better grasp the inherent confusion to be a teenager. It doesn't hobble the author's prose the way it can in adult fiction because the language needs to be kept simple anyway. Wallace does so, and in a very short novel makes every word count. The prose sometimes comes ever so close to being trite, but it is always spot on. E.g., "Sturbridge is almost like a stadium--there's a flat two-block-wide valley down the spine of the town, then it rises up on both sides. It's a pit only the strongest crawl out of."
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VINE VOICEon April 25, 2007
Ben and his three friends have been a solid group since middle school. They started out wrestling together when they were that young, and their dream was always to wrestle for the high school team and perhaps lead their team to state championships in four different weight classes. Wrestling is a huge sport--the only sport that matters--in the town of Sturbridge, though, and many other boys have had the same dream. Ben and his friends think that they have the drive to make it, though.

Suddenly it is senior year, and they seem to be living the dream. Well, all except Ben. The previous year it had seemed like he and his friends would rule four consecutive weight classes. Then one of his friends gained weight and moved up into Ben's class, and Ben can't seem to beat him. He can't gain enough weight in muscle to move up beyond his friends, and he can't lose enough weight to drop a class without being too weak to wrestle at all. It is beginning to look to Ben like he may not wrestle this season--unless he is able to beat his friend in a match for the slot on the team. Will Ben have the drive and the ability to earn a varsity position? When his focus is drawn to a new girlfriend, will wrestling even matter to him anymore?

I liked the relationship between Ben and his father, and especially the odd gift Ben's father gives him at the end of the book. I also liked the description of Sturbridge; it was very well set up in this book. I liked the way each chapter started with lists of things that were important to know about Ben, and I especially liked the unpredictable ending.

I didn't really understand the relationship between Ben and Kim. It seemed that all of a sudden they were dating pretty seriously with no real lead-in or explanation.
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on January 28, 2013
Wrestling Sturbridge features the protagonist Ben, a senior wrestler yearning to accomplish his dreams with his childhood pals, by winning the Pennsylvania state championships for his history-rich school. As a senior, Ben has only one more opportunity to win it all, but only his best friends stand in the way of his goal. Unable to move weight classes, Ben realizes that unless he is able to defeat preseason-favorite Al, he will spend his final season on the bench.
While inventing a high-potential concept, Wallace fails to deliver. The author constantly declines to go in depth with his scenes, and overall doesn't sustain a thorough plot; he grazes heartfelt scenes of Ben with his father, skims the development of Ben and Kim's relationship, and utterly adds no detail in the matches of other wrestlers at Sturbridge. The book is only 133 pages, largely due to the brief descriptions of scenes that could have left an impact on the reader if Wallace had gone in depth.
Like any loss, the book still has its highlights. Ben is a very relatable character, with good intentions and high hopes for his future after high school. There are bits and pieces of humor cleverly scattered throughout the pages that keeps an otherwise hopeless tone light hearted. The book contains quotes that are memorable, specifically about the ability of desire to overcome talent.
All in all, the book is worth a shot, especially if the reader is familiar with the sport of wrestling. While one shouldn't expect to be reading a classic, the story provides a quick, acceptable read. As it only takes a few hours to read start-to-finish, it wouldn't be a horrible idea to give it a try, as long as you don't expect to much out of it.
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on February 8, 2007
Here comes a team of lean mean wrestling machines! They are going to Sturbridge for a wrestling match. Who will win? Will Benny the main character or his friend al win? You'll see who wins in the book Wrestling Sturbridge by Rich Wallace. Benny is an athletic teenager that cant beat his friend Al, or will that change.

He has 2 more friends on his wrestling team Digit and Hatcher. They are good wrestlers but not good enough to beat Benny or Al. They hooked up as a wrestling team ever since they started. Who will win you'll see in this fabulous book Wrestling Sturbridge. This exciting book is very good so you should read it.

This wrestling team was friends or will that change when benny an al have to wrestle each other and become enemies wrestling for king of the mat. So get to reading the best wrestling book around.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2000
Ben, a high school senior and varsity wrestler is starting to realize that his future is pretty bleak. His hometown of Sturbridge, PA is small and dismal and known only for it's Wrestling team and the cinder block factory. So in his last season of wrestling, ben shakes off the fear and challenges the status quo. He chooses not to continue as the training partner of his best friend, Al(the wrestling teams best hope for a state title: instead Ben makes a bit for the title. Robert Cormier writes of the novel: "Ben wrestles no only his high school opponents but with the big issues of life and love and the choices a teenager must make." You won't be able to stop turning pages of this one.
Also try _Shots on Goal_ by the same author
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on April 9, 2007
Rich Wallace's WRESTLING STURBRIDGE is the best young adult novel you are likely to read...and a darn good novel period (regardless of age demarcations). I think I've given away at least 10 copies of this book to nieces and nephews over the years and every one of them loved it. Along with STONEWALL'S GOLD, WRESTLING STURBRIDGE proves that the YA genre is no longer the domain of hacks and scribes who have failed at other genres. There is some terrific fiction out there for discriminating teens and tweeners and I would put STURBRIDGE at the very top of the pile.
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on February 8, 2001
Wrestling Stubridge was a good book.I really liked this book because i am a wrestler.I am on the Kumph Middle School wrestling team so i new a little about what they were talking about in some parts of the book.Tjis book was cool in the middle because Ben's(star of the book)dad robbed a house, because they are a little poor. I also like this book because it is kind of like me and my friend we are the same weight and we always say that one of us is better than the other and we compete against eachother like Ben and Al(state champion) do throught the story.
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